To have a friend in my life like you doesn't mean sailing on a boat without any storms. Rather it means having a boat that can sail in every storm. - Written in 2005 by Babbu Pandu, India

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage

Home arrow Latest News arrow Surplus Boats Re-floated (update 3)
Surplus Boats Re-floated (update 3) PDF Print E-mail
21 May 2014

Following WI's tender process for disposing of their surplus workboats all the historic boats were saved and are now on their way to new waters. Some in private ownership, others in the hands of community groups. Below is an update on some of these boats.

33E now converted back to 33M

Salvage of 95E and 92E

69M on the move again

Heritage barge 77M leaves Fenniscourt for restoration

33E now converted back to 33M

Dredger 33E has been on the Royal Canal since the late 1980's, it was decommissioned by the OPW in the early 1990's and has been laid up since then. It was recently sold off by Waterways Ireland and has since then been converted back to 32M. There is a strong rumour that it is now slowly making its way to Shannon Harbour for this years Canal Boat Rally.

As 33E - complete with Ruston Bucyrus crane/dredger and steering shelter.

33E in the bottom chamber of the 10th lock at Ashtown, with Joe Coleman on the 10RB and John Hyland at the tiller.


33M once again - ascending Lock 18 on the Royal Canal at Thomastown in
preparation for the journey West.

New skipper in command on Derg

Salvage of 95E and 92E

The tale begins in early December 2013 with the announcement by Waterways Ireland that nine “surplus barges” were being offered for public tender. They ranged in age from 1895 to 1938 and were in various locations, one on land, some more afloat; and the pair of “E boats”, described as sunken barges, in Tullamore harbour.

My target was 92E and with the help of Gerard Bayly, who was interested in 95E, a very detailed salvage plan was drawn up and the bids prepared. It was early February 2014 before we were notified of our “success” and the salvage plan could start. The floating boats were to leave Tullamore before our job could start and soon enough 79M and 69M would leave the harbour and travel west.

Thursday 15th May was the planned day for the raising of 95E. Myself and Ben were committed to be part of the team and perhaps learn something for the raising of 92E. We arrived at the yard early and un-loaded the pumps tools etc. in the taped-off area and set to work on 95. The water level had been lowered overnight which meant the three pumps started to make headway fairly quickly. With 95E floating reasonably high without any visible signs of leaks, the decision to raise 92 was taken and again happened fairly quickly.

A lift of the bridge across the harbour entrance had been arranged for 3.30pm and amidst a flurry of camera shots and smiles all round both hulls were roped from the harbour to the wall outside.

Next day the team worked with a massive sludge tanker to remove most of the two foot deep silt in their holds. Timber was cut to cover the deck areas and a rudder and outboard bracket was attached to 95.

Sunday 18th May dawned wet and miserable but by 10am 95E was sailing out onto the main line powered by a 15hp Mariner followed by Dabu with 92 on tow. By early afternoon 92 was tied up at Ballycowan and 95 was travelling on to Pollagh.

The hulls appear in good shape and a dry-docking should reveal more. The hull was to be a long term project for us and the 4E “job jar “is far from empty, however the sight of this lovely blank canvas is tempting.


95E - under its own power - joins up with the rest of the family fleet

Diary of the first voyage of 69M under new management

Thursday: fitted engine in Tullamore and drove out of harbour that afternoon.

Friday: left Tullamore for Rahan

Saturday: continued on as far as Belmont

Sunday: reached Shannon Hbr. and were reunited briefly with 79M

Monday: on to the Shannon for Lough Derg and reached home port that evening.


PS, if anyone has more photos of the voyage, could they pass them on to the skipper.

Heritage barge 77M leaves Fenniscourt for restoration

On the 'hard' in Fenniscourt - no longer a dredger

Afloat once more on the River Barrow - new skipper poses

Old hand, new hand - this is how we did it in our day (54 years ago)

Ascending Rathvindon Lock

A collection of Burkes in Bagnelstown Lock - JO'N looking on


77M heading down Lough Derg on the last leg of the journey

Last Updated ( 27 August 2015 )
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